Isaiah 14:3
And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear, and from the hard bondage wherein you were made to serve,
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(3) It shall come to pass . . .—The condition of the exiles in Babylon is painted in nearly the same terms as in Habakkuk 2:13. A monarch bent on building towers and walls and palaces, who had carried off all the skilled labour of Jerusalem, was likely enough to vex their souls with “fear” and “hard bondage.” So Assurbanipal boasts that he made his Arabian prisoners carry heavy burdens and build brick-work (Records of the Past, i. 104).

Isaiah 14:3-5. And in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow — From thy grief, fear, and the hard bondage of former times; wherein thou wast made to serve — According to the pleasure of thy cruel lords and masters; thou shalt take up this proverb — Into thy mouth, as it is expressed; Psalm 50:16; and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! — This is spoken by way of astonishment and triumph, as if he had said, Who would have thought this possible? The golden city ceased! — So they used to call themselves; which he expresses here in a word of their own language. The Lord hath broken the staff, &c. — This is an answer to the foregoing question. It is God’s own work, and not man’s; and therefore it is not strange that it is accomplished. But before we proceed with our remarks on some particular passages of this song, we shall present our readers with the general view which Bishop Lowth has given of its unparalleled beauties, which he has pointed out, in a very striking manner, as follows: “A chorus of Jews is introduced, expressing their surprise and astonishment at the sudden downfall of Babylon, and the great reverse of fortune that had befallen the tyrant, who, like his predecessors, had oppressed his own, and harassed the neighbouring kingdoms. These oppressed kingdoms, or their rulers, are represented under the image of the fir-trees, and the cedars of Libanus, frequently used to express any thing in the political or religious world that is super-eminently great and majestic: the whole earth shouteth for joy: the cedars of Libanus utter a severe taunt over the fallen tyrant; and boast their security now he is no more. The scene is immediately changed, and a new set of persons is introduced; the regions of the dead are laid open, and Hades is represented as rousing up the shades of the departed monarchs: they rise from their thrones to meet the king of Babylon at his coming; and insult him on his being reduced to the same low estate of impotence and dissolution with themselves. This is one of the boldest prosopopœias that ever was attempted in poetry; and is executed with astonishing brevity and perspicuity, and with that peculiar force which, in a great subject, naturally results from both. The Jews now resume the speech; they address the king of Babylon as the morning-star fallen from heaven, as the first in splendour and dignity in the political world, fallen from his high state: they introduce him as uttering the most extravagant vaunts of his power, and ambitious designs in his former glory: these are strongly contrasted in the close with his present low and abject condition. Immediately follows a different scene, and a most happy image, to diversify the same subject, and to give it a new turn and an additional force. Certain persons are introduced, who light upon the corpse of the king of Babylon, cast out, and lying naked on the bare ground, among the common slain, just after the taking of the city; covered with wounds, and so disfigured, that it is some time before they know him. They accost him with the severest taunts, and bitterly reproach him with his destructive ambition, and his cruel usage of the conquered; which have deservedly brought upon him this ignominious treatment, so different from that which those of his rank usually meet with, and which shall cover his posterity with disgrace. To complete the whole, God is introduced declaring the fate of Babylon, the utter extirpation of the royal family, and the total desolation of the city; the deliverance of his people, and the destruction of their enemies; confirming the irreversible decree by the awful sanction of his oath. I believe it may, with truth, be affirmed, that there is no poem of its kind extant in any language, in which the subject is so well laid out, and so happily conducted, with such a richness of invention, with such variety of images, persons, and distinct actions, with such rapidity and ease of transition, in so small a compass as in this ode of Isaiah. For beauty of disposition, strength of colouring, greatness of sentiment, brevity, perspicuity, and force of expression, it stands among all the monuments of antiquity unrivalled.” 14:1-23 The whole plan of Divine Providence is arranged with a view to the good of the people of God. A settlement in the land of promise is of God's mercy. Let the church receive those whom God receives. God's people, wherever their lot is cast, should endeavour to recommend religion by a right and winning conversation. Those that would not be reconciled to them, should be humbled by them. This may be applied to the success of the gospel, when those were brought to obey it who had opposed it. God himself undertakes to work a blessed change. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, the sense of their present burdens, and the dread of worse. Babylon abounded in riches. The king of Babylon having the absolute command of so much wealth, by the help of it ruled the nations. This refers especially to the people of the Jews; and it filled up the measure of the king of Babylon's sins. Tyrants sacrifice their true interest to their lusts and passions. It is gracious ambition to covet to be like the Most Holy, for he has said, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but it is sinful ambition to aim to be like the Most High, for he has said, He who exalts himself shall be abased. The devil thus drew our first parents to sin. Utter ruin should be brought upon him. Those that will not cease to sin, God will make to cease. He should be slain, and go down to the grave; this is the common fate of tyrants. True glory, that is, true grace, will go up with the soul to heaven, but vain pomp will go down with the body to the grave; there is an end of it. To be denied burial, if for righteousness' sake, may be rejoiced in, Mt 5:12. But if the just punishment of sin, it denotes that impenitent sinners shall rise to everlasting shame and contempt. Many triumphs should be in his fall. God will reckon with those that disturb the peace of mankind. The receiving the king of Babylon into the regions of the dead, shows there is a world of spirits, to which the souls of men remove at death. And that souls have converse with each other, though we have none with them; and that death and hell will be death and hell indeed, to all who fall unholy, from the height of this world's pomps, and the fulness of its pleasures. Learn from all this, that the seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned. The royal city is to be ruined and forsaken. Thus the utter destruction of the New Testament Babylon is illustrated, Re 18:2. When a people will not be made clean with the besom of reformation, what can they expect but to be swept off the face of the earth with the besom of destruction?And it shall come to pass - That is, then thou shalt take up a taunting song against the king of Babylon Isaiah 14:4.

That the Lord shall give thee rest - (compare Isaiah 38:12). The nature of this predicted rest, is more fully described in Ezekiel 28:25-26.

From thy sorrow - The long pain of thy captivity in Babylon.

And from thy fear - Hebrew, 'Trembling.' That is, the apprehension of the ills to which they were continually exposed. Trembling is usually one effect of fear.

And from thy hard bondage - The severe and galling servitude of seventy years.

3. rest—(Isa 28:12; Eze 28:25, 26). From thy fear; for besides their present hard service, they were in perpetual fear of further severities and sufferings, at the pleasure of their cruel lords and masters. And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow,.... In captivity, and on account of that, being out of their own land, deprived of the free exercise of their religion, and at a distance from the house of God, and continually hearing the reproaches and blaspheming of the enemy, and seeing their idolatrous practices, and their ungodly conversation; all which must create sorrow of heart to the sincere lovers and worshippers of God:

and from thy fear; of worse evils, most cruel usage, and death itself, under the terror of which they lived:

and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve; as before in Egypt, so now in Babylon; but what that was is not particularly expressed anywhere, as the former is, see Exodus 1:13 and when they had rest from all this in their own land, then they should do as follows:

And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,
3. thy fear] Rather thy unrest, or “trouble” (R.V.).

the hard bondage] R.V. service. From Exodus 1:14. The analogy of the Egyptian oppression is prominent in the writer’s thoughts.Verse 3. - The hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve (comp. Isaiah 47:6). We have no detailed account of the Babylonian, as we have of the Egyptian, servitude; but it was probably well-nigh as grievous. A few, of royal descent, might be eunuchs in the palace of the great king (2 Kings 20:18; Daniel 1:3), and hold offices of trust; but with the bulk of the nation it was otherwise. Psalm 137, has the plaintive ring which marks it as the utterance of a sorely oppressed people. And there are passages of Ezekiel which point in the same direction (see especially Ezekiel 34:27-29). "And Babel, the ornament of kingdoms, the proud boast of the Chaldeans, becomes like Elohim's overthrowing judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah." The ornament of kingdoms (mamlâcoth), because it was the centre of many conquered kingdoms, which now avenged themselves upon it (Isaiah 13:4); the pride (cf., Isaiah 28:1), because it was the primitive dwelling-place of the Chaldeans of the lowlands, that ancient cultivated people, who were related to the Chaldean tribes of the Carduchisan mountains in the north-east of Mesopotamia, though not of the same origin, and of totally different manners (see at Isaiah 23:13). Their present catastrophe resembled that of Sodom and Gomorrah: the two eths are accusative; mahpēcâh (καταστροφή) is used like de‛âh in Isaiah 11:9 with a verbal force (τὸ καταστρέψαι, well rendered by the lxx ὄν τρόπον κατέστρεψεν ὁ Θεός. On the arrangement of the words, see Ges. 133, 3).
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